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The Failed Expectations of Third Party Game Controllers

After the resurgence of the video game console market coming from the video game crash of 1983, third party video game controllers from other companies began popping up in stores with their own designs. But your parents look to themselves "hey, these controllers are slightly cheaper than the originals!" and they decide to pick them up for you. But what they didn't know is that these controllers can be both a blessing, and a curse.

One of the first third party controllers I owned, the Beeshu Striker for the Sega Genesis, sets an example of what many of these types of controllers set out to do. Not just having their own design, but adding a turbo function to the buttons, making for rapid fire button pressing as you held down the assigned button. So, what's wrong with that?

The problem is that the buttons themselves, or the d-pad can feel clunky, or cheaply made. Sometimes the buttons will stick and get jammed, or they won't input presses regularly after only a year or two of use. This is how these controllers get you with their price, and would only get worse as video games went into the 32-bit and 64-bit era.

Aside from how buttons felt, the feel of the controllers themselves were a "pick your poison" variety as well. Some controllers had oversized turbo buttons instead of using switches, making the controller itself very bulky to hold. Other bulky controllers didn't even have these buttons and still may have felt unnatural to hold compared to the official controllers. I'd even heard stories that some third party Nintendo 64 controllers didn't even recognize the Rumple Pak, upsetting my friends that owned them.

Mad Catz was mostly a well known company that made these types of controllers on the market by the late 1990s and had magazine ads in just about in every video game magazine from Nintendo Power to Electronic Gaming Monthly, and even GamePro. And yet parents and teenagers were continuing to get suckered in to buying these budget controllers without knowing about the consequences of their poor quality.

Unfortunately even the Sega Dreamcast wasn't safe by the flaws of a third party company controller. The Mad Catz Dream Pad controller had two unnecessary face buttons, and a memory card slot on the controller that was too small to fit a VMU inside, requiring it to be shoved inside rather than careful inserting.

In the years of being noticed on the market, third party video game controllers will always be a stain in the market of game controllers as a whole. Poorly made buttons, flimsy analog sticks, and questionable designs to attempt to look different from the official controllers are the most remembered aspects of what they had to offer.

Did you own a third party video game controller? Leave a comment and I'll see you next article!

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Game Joy Posted on May 30, 2024 at 09:02 PM

I remember having a pirated controller for the Sega Genesis, that came with it from the seller. Luckily, as a secondary controller, because it came with the official controller, perfect in every way. The controller was substituted as soon as I could, buying an official 6-button pad, working perfectly, great to play Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition.

I was never a fan of pirated products (the way I call them), generally coming from china and having the well-known terrible quality, and stopping to work after two years generally. So I always avoided pirated hardware.

Article so full of charisma and passion for video games, my incredible brother! I admire you.

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